Will County, IL. (ECWd) -
Yesterday, January 11, 2021, Will County Circuit Court Judge John C. Anderson granted, in part, our Motion for Summary Judgment and ordered the Will County Sheriff's Department to either release the 911 recordings after disguising the voice, or to provide a transcript of the recordings subject to my Freedom of Information Act Request.
From the Order:
- "WCSO has submitted the requested records to the Court, in an unredacted and unaltered recorded state, for an in camera review. The Court finds that the substantive content of that material does not fall under FOIA exemptions for material that is personal, private, or confidential. With regard to the voices on the recordings, the Court accepts WCSO's arguments that the voice qualities are exempt; this is a question that ECW does not adequately contest. "
- "Relative to Counts I and IV, ECW's motion for summary judgment is granted to the extent that (a) ECW is entitled to an index; and (b) WCSO should have either produced the requested audio recordings with disguised voices or, if that was not feasible, WCSO should have given ECW the option to accept a transcript. WCSO could have passed the costs for this on to ECW to the extent permitted by 5 ILCS 140/6. To the extent it has not yet done so, WCSO is ordered to provide ECW with the requested audio recordings and documents. If there are privacy concerns, WCSO may disguises the recorded voices. If disguising the voices presents an undue burden or is otherwise not feasible, they may file an appropriate motion for further direction and/or WCSO shall provide a transcript to ECW if ECW wants one."
We withdrew/abandoned our request for civil penalties in a previous motion, and the Court granted the Sheriff's motion to dismiss the civil penalty request, and the willful or wanted failure request.
These records were requested during a timeframe when Wesley Township was governed by an incompetent and abusive board, who were trying to extract fees for use of the township park when the township code specifically states that a township park "shall be forever held for the free use of the public."
The FOIA requests for these calls are a result of residents standing up for themselves, and disputing and refusing to pay the fees. We believed that false 911 calls and police reports were filed in an attempt at harassing and extracting revenge on those residents by at least one trustee who unlawfully referred to herself as the "park ranger" when no such position exists in township government.
Also during this time, we revealed how those fees were originally established: because the township board wanted to "keep the blacks and Mexicans from overrunning the park"
We will publish these records once we receive them..